§ Mr. Ioan Evans
asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any plans to extend the coverage of his Department's monthly index of average earnings; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Booth
This index has proved to be a good indicator of short-term movements in average earnings in the sectors covered and a useful guide to the general movement of earnings in the whole economy. It is, nevertheless, desirable that its coverage should be comprehensive, in line with other main economic indicators. Arrangements are being introduced to collect the simple information required each month from the main sectors not hitherto covered. These include the distributive trades, the financial sector, postal services, professional and scientific services and national and local government services. There have been extensive consultations with organisations of employers and others. The extended series will be compiled as from January next year. All the present series, including the seasonally adjusted ones, will continue to be issued each month.